Sacred days of the Athenian month


I day – Noumenia- Νουμηνία

“The most sacred of all days”

Sacred to Apollo Noumenios, Zeus, Artemis Noumenia, Hera, Hermes, Hecate and to all the Household Gods.

Sacrifices, purifications, libations, banquets and singing of hymns are some among the distinctive features of the first day of the lunar month.

Banquet of Noumeniastai; Epimenia.

(P.Oxy. 3710, col. ii. 34-47; Schol. Od. Υ/ Φ; Proklos comm. Es. Op. 765-70; Schol. Frogs 421.15; Aratus,Phaenomena,1; Lydus, De mensibus, 3, 10, 3, 11, 3, 13; Geographi Graeci minores, ed. Muller, 2 (Paris, 1882), 23, fragment 9; Athen. Deipn. 9, 397D; Porph., De abstinentia, 2, 16; Schol. Arist. Pluto, 594; Eus. Praeparatio evangelica,3 , 11, 113C, etc…)



II day- Δευτέρα Ἱσταμένου

The second day of the month is sacred to the Agathos Daimon and to all Heroes and Daimones. (Hesych. Suda s.v. Agathou Daimonos; Anecd. 209.14; Plut. Mor. 270A)

It is also sacred to Poseidon. (Schol. Arist. Clouds 616)



III day- Τρίτη Ἱσταμένου- Τριτομηνίς

The third day of the month is sacred to Athena, as the symbolic day of Her birthday. It is sacred also to the Charites. In this day, Athena Tritogeneia is also identified with Selene. (Harp. s.v. tritomenis; Etym. Magn. 767.40; Hesych. s.v. tritomenis; schol Il. 8.39; Tzetz. schol. Lyk. 519; schol Arist. Pluto 1126; Anecd. 1.306.32; Arnob. Adv. Gent. III, 118, 31)



IV day- Τετρὰς Ἱσταμένου

The fourth day is sacred to Aphrodite Pandemos, Hermes and Herakles-symbolic day of Their birthday. Honors are paid to Hermaphroditos.

Banquet of the Tetradistai.

(Proklos comm. Es. Op. 798; schol. Hes. Op. 700, 800; Arist. Pluto 1125; Athenaios 14. 659D; Suda s.v. Πεπεμμένου πλακοῦντος, Πέττουσα; Hom. Hymn Hermes 19; Plut. Mor. 738F; Theophr. Char., XVI, 10; Phot. and Suda s.v. tetradi gegonas; Zen. Prov. 6.7; Eust. Od. 5.262 e Il. 24.336)



V day- Πέμπτη Ἱσταμένου

Sacred day to Horkos and Erynies.

(Hes., Op. 801-804; Virg., Georg. 1. 276)



VI day- Ἓκτη Ἱσταμένου

The sixth is sacred to Artemis (Procl. in Tim. 200D; Schol. Arist. Pl. 1127)

“The sixth day: it is among the auspicious days, in fact the myth narrates that during this day the Gods defeated the giants.” (Parom. Gr. 176G)



VII day- Ἑβδόμη Ἱσταμένου

The seventh is sacred to Apollo. (Hes., Op. 770-771; schol. Arist. Pl. 1126; Proklos Es. 768)

The Athenians bring laurel branches, offer sacrifices and sing hymns to Apollo. (Proklos Es. Op. 770)



VIII day- Ὀγδόη Ἱσταμένου

The eighth is sacred to Poseidon and Theseus. (Hes., Op. 790; schol. Arist. Pl. 627-628, 1126; Plut. Thes. 36; Hesych. s.v. ogdoaion; Stob. Peri Pythagorou 1.20)



IX day- Ἑνάτη Ἱσταμένου

The ninth is sacred to the Muses, to Helios and Rhea. (Nicand., Alexipharmaka 217; Dion. Al. Rhet. 243.1; Plut. Symp. 9.3.1; Proklos schol. Es. 809)



X day- Δεκάτη Ἱσταμένου/ Δεκάτη Προτέρα

Παντέλεια- perfection, completeness. (Stob. Peri Pythagorou 1.20)



– XI day Ἑνδεκάτη/ Πρώτη Μεσοῦντος

(Honors to the Moirai?)

Agricultural notation of Hesiod, Erga 774

“Also the eleventh and twelfth are both excellent, alike for
shearing sheep and for reaping the kindly fruits; but the twelfth
is much better than the eleventh, for on it the airy-swinging
spider spins its web in full day, and then the Wise One,
gathers her pile.  On that day woman should set up her loom and
get forward with her work.”



XII day- Δωδεκάτη/ Δευτέρα Μεσοῦντος/ Δυοκαιδεκάτη

Agricultural notation of Hesiod, Erga 774

“The number twelve was dedicated by the ancients to the mundane Gods, and to the series that are always proceeding from Them.” (Proclus, in Tim. III, p. 106)



XIII day- Τρίτη Μεσοῦντος/ Τρισκαιδεκάτη/ Τρίτη ἐπὶ δέκα

(Honors to Athena?)



XIV- Τετάρτη Μεσοῦντος/ Τετρὰς ἐπὶ δέκα/ Τεσσαρεκαιδεκάτη



XV day- Πέμπτη Μεσοῦντος/ Πέμπτη ἐπὶ δέκα / Πεντεκαιδεκάτη

A day sacred to Athena (Dion. Al. Rhet. 3.1)



XVI day- Ἕκτη Μεσοῦντος/ Ἕκτη ἐπὶ δέκα /Ἑκκαιδεκάτη

(Sacred to Artemis? >cfr Filocoro FGrHist 328 F 86)



XVII day- Ἑβδόμη Μεσοῦντος/ Ἑβδóμη ἐπὶ δέκα / Ἑπτακαιδεκάτη



– XVIII day- Ὀγδόη Μεσοῦντος/ Ὀγδόη ἐπὶ δέκα / Όκτωκαιδεκάτη

Day dedicated to purification and apotropaic rites. (FGrHist 328 F 190)



XIX day- Ἐνάτη Μεσοῦντος/ Ἐνάτη ἐπὶ δέκα / Ἐννεακαιδεκάτη

Day dedicated to purification and apotropaic rites. (FGrHist 328 F 190)

“The ninth of the mid-month improves towards evening” (Hes., Erga 810)



XX day- Εἰκοστή/ Εἰκὰς/ Εἰκοσάδες

Sacred Εἰκὰς – sacred day to Athena and Apollo.

(Proklos schol. Hes. 778> cf. Philochorus; Etym. Magn. s.v. Eikadios)



XXI day- Δεκάτη Ὑστέρα/ Δεκάτη Φθίνοντος/ Μετεικὰς/ Ἀμφιδεκάτη

Sacred day to Athena (Proklos schol. Hes. 778> cf. Philochorus)



XXII day- Ἐνάτη Φθίνοντος/ Ἐνάτη μετ’εἰκάδας

Sacred day to Athena (Proklos schol. Hes. 778> cf. Philochorus)



XXIII day-  Ὀγδόη Φθίνοντος/ Ὀγδόη μετ’εἰκάδας


XXIV day- Ἑβδόμη Φθίνοντος/ Ἑβδόμη μετ’εἰκάδας


XXV day- Ἕκτη Φθίνοντος/ Ἕκτη μετ’εἰκάδας


XXVI day- Πέμπτη Φθίνοντος/ Πέμπτη μετ’εἰκάδας



XXVII day- Τετρὰς Φθίνοντος/ Τετρὰς μετ’εἰκάδας

Impure day . During these days (Τετρὰς, Τρίτη e Δευτέρα Φθίνοντος) it is not lawful to sacrifice and to consult the oracles; no banquet; no one engages in an activity for which success is desired. Attested are libations in honor of the deceased and ceremonies in their honor.

“But take care to avoid troubles which eat out the heart on the fourth of the beginning and ending of the month; it is a day very fraught with fate.”

(Athen. XII, 551F; Pollux 8,117; Hesychius and Suidas, s.v. hemerai apophrades; Timaeus, Lexicon vocum Platonicarum, ed. G. A. Koch (Leipzig, 1828), 41.1-3; schol. Plato, Laws, 7, 800D (329); Anecdota Graeca, Bekker, 1, 5.8 f. (cf. 204.31 f.), 438.31; Luc., Pseudologistes, 12 (172); Plut. Alexander, 14, 4; idem, De Ei apud Delphos, 20 (393C); Arsenius, Violetum, 69; Hes., Erga 799)



XVIII day- Τρίτη Φθίνοντος/ Τρίτη μετ’εἰκάδας

Day sacred to Athena.

(Suda s.v. Tritogenès; Phot. s.v. Tritogenès; Schol. bT in Il. VIII 39a Herbse; cfr. FGrHist 328 F 189)



XXIX day- Δευτέρα Φθίνοντος/ Δευτέρα μετ’εἰκάδας




Ἔνε καὶ νέα/ Τριακάς/ Δημητριάς

Hecate’s Deipna.

(The lunar month might have twenty-nine or thirty days, depending on the first observance of the New Moon- If the month has twenty-nine days, then the twenty-nine is Ἔνε καὶ νέα)

The last day of the month must be also devoted to meditation and to the reconsideration of the work done during the month, as well as to the preparation for the new month to come. In any case, no one should undertake an important work during this last day. It is highly recommended to fast for the whole day.

(Proklos, comm. Es. Op. 415.31 ff., 417.1-418.1; Lydus, De mensibus, 3, 11; Plut., Aetia Romana, 34 (272D); Athen. Deip. 7, 325A; Schol. Arist. Pluto, 594: Noumenia, Triakas; Paroemiographi Graeci, 1, 312.5, 2, 87.4; Arsenius, Violetum, 443)